A superlative example of a 'How To...' book...
Lajos Egri's book 'Art of Creative Writing' was originally published as 'The Art of Dramatic Writing' in 1946 and was poignantly subtitled 'It Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives'; and this is what lies at the heart of Egri's book.
Egri argues that all action is conditioned by a fundamental principle, which he terms the ?premise?, whether or not the premise is a known or an unknown subconscious motivation: and just as in real life, which adheres to this basic principle, so must it be in dramatic life. Without this ?premise? no writing, no matter how stylistically good, can be a fully developed and emotionally rewarding script, story, play, or novel.
Egri draws the premise of his own book from the Marxist principle of Dialectics, in particular the law regarding Unity of Opposites. He applies the principle that all things in existence, including the dramatic creations of an author, are affected by this dialectical principle of inherent conflict and resolution, which is the very motivating force of both the universe and the stage. He draws on material from the ages such as the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles, the works of Shakespeare and Molière, Chekhov and Ibsen, thru to several motion pictures contemporaneous with his book all the while applying his critical principle of ?premise? and dialectics to demonstrate the inadequacies and successes in each work.
There is no doubting that that Egri is a well-read man with discriminating tastes, which adds a greater cogency to his argument. Even if one does not wholly subscribe to the tenets of Marxist-Leninism, there is no doubting that after reading this book, the principles of dialectics will have embedded themselves in the readers? critical faculties. So much so, that after completing the reading of Egri?s work one might even find themselves reading thru selected chapters of Engel?s ?Dialectics of Nature? as this reviewer did.
If one had to choose only one ?how to?? book, of which this is an early yet superlative example, then one could do no better than ?The Art of Dramatic Writing.?